Spirituality Is The Ultimate Threat To The Government

The quintessential psychedelic experience is to gradually but irreversibly become aware of any of a range of truths about reality, such as that there is no such thing as death, or that life is only a dream, or that on the other side of the illusion is bliss. Few understand that it is becoming aware of these spiritual truths that has given the control freaks cause to make psychedelics illegal.

There’s nothing more illegal than true spirituality. There will never be anything more illegal than true spirituality – by definition – because true spirituality is the antidote to all forms of slavery, whether by iron, silver or gold.

In order to enslave someone, it is necessary to first cause them suffering, so that an alleviation of that suffering can be offered in exchange for acquiescence. This is true of every level of primate hierarchies from monkeys to humans, and is even true of some mammals and reptiles.

The suffering can either be physical in the form of pain or psychological in the form of fear (or, most commonly, both). If either of those is present in a target it is possible to enslave them by granting them alleviation.

However, there is a trick, not known to everyone: that all suffering is an illusion borne of an incorrect (if tempting) over-identification with one of the temporal forms of the material world.

In other words, if you refrain from identifying excessively with one of the ever-changing patterns that present themselves to your consciousness, you can exist in the full knowledge that you are that eternal, indivisible consciousness.

An excessive identification with the phenomena of “your body” is the most common of these.

The more strongly a person identifies with their body, the more sharply they will feel the pain of that body, and consequently the more passionately they will resist being put in situations that cause them pain – even if their escape from them comes through causing others to suffer even more.

This excessive identification with one’s body is fundamentally an error caused by a lack of spiritual knowledge. Therefore, anyone aiming to enslave anyone else must begin with the spiritual enslavement of his enemy, for without this no other form is possible.

And so, slavery begins by separating people from their birthright – which is to know the spiritual truths.

After all, how can a person be controlled when that person is no longer in fear of death?

The whole point of Government is that, if there was ever a war, you’d be the one fighting it and the people who currently make up the Government would be giving you orders from a safe distance.

How they get you to be the sharp end of the spear and not themselves (or their offspring, or their political donors or their offspring) is the result of the successful application of a set of mass psychology tricks that have been refined ever since Babylon.

The main objective of this set of tricks is to separate people from their birthright to know spiritual truths by instead filling their heads with lies, violence, deception, hatred, rape and destruction.

The more a person’s head is filled with such, the more easily they can be enslaved.

Ironically, the more afraid of death a person is, the more powerfully they attract it – a fact understood by men of gold since Egypt. The more powerfully they attract death the more fear they suffer, and the more fear they suffer the more easily they can be enslaved.

Or more to the point, the more easily they can be persuaded to submit to slavery in exchange for amelioration of the suffering caused by the fear.

Hence it has been said, by men of gold in all times and places, that “The truth will set you free.”

Anyone truly spiritual is invincible; this is true of all levels of the Great Fractal, from individuals all the way back to complete unity of consciousness.

For the sort of person that seeks to enslave rather than to co-operate on even terms, spirituality is effectively their ideological enemy.

And so, it is possible to get life imprisonment for giving a person some LSD – even with their informed consent – even while people are given much more lenient sentences for physically or psychologically brutalising their fellows.

The Peacock’s Tale: The Fundamentals of Alchemical Transmutation

Science would have us believe that it has debunked alchemy. The narrative we are given is that the discipline of alchemy was a fundamentally flawed and erroneous form of primitive chemistry that has been ‘disproven’on account of failing to physically transmute lead into gold.

Therefore, so one stream of popular wisdom concludes, the value of alchemy is reduced to zero, and it is to be discarded as pseudoscience and relegated to the annals of weird illustrations and woodcuts.

This view is exceptionally narrow. What else does the process of transmutation have to teach us? What about at the level of the phenomenal, the level of mental space?

Esoteric alchemy refers to the inner meaning of the alchemical project. This refers to the state of consciousness. This is where all true alchemy takes place. This is the beating heart of the Hermetic philosophy. This is the centre to which all alchemical mythologies point.

There are many ways to explain or mythologise this, but look at the primary objective of alchemy, which is to transmute the lower into the higher. Lower into higher vibrations, one polarity into another, one substance or form into another. This is represented allegorically in the traditional depictions of the alchemist in his laboratory with various chemicals, flasks and equipment.

The common practice in any culture is to discard what is seen as without value, the chaff, the dregs. This is seen as common wisdom, but it is also entrenched in duality, the frame of the world being divided into poles of value and experience.

We take what we call ‘negative’ energy, and we try to relieve ourselves of it by throwing it away, condemning it, ignoring it or repressing it.

This is unwise, according to the practice of alchemy. You do not discard the lower, you transmute it. This may have been what Jesus meant when he said “Show me the stone that the builder has rejected, that is the cornerstone”.

You do not seek outside of yourself for what you imagine to offer you reprieve or salvation. You begin where you are, with what you have.

If you discard the lower, you will simply continue to receive more of it and nothing will ever change. The alchemist who does nothing with the lead bars he is regularly delivered packs it away into his steadily growing warehouse and sits idle without tending his furnace, ready for his children to inherit his hoard, and so on ad infinitum.

What we do not attend to alchemically is passed on in one way or another. It can be the thoughts, habits, and behaviours we pass on, or it may be the mark we have left upon the world in the form of how we treated others, how we approached problems, or the structures we reinforced and lent our support to during our time on the planet.

This is immediately evident to us because this is what we are confronted with, a world of inherited structures and agreements, things that those before us have gone into accord with and left for others to navigate.

When you are given lead bars, you are not being gifted with chaff and dregs. You are being gifted with the energy of life, the building blocks that you have the option of transmuting through a little know-how and a lot of persistence.

We are not merely talking of positive thinking or making lemons into lemonade. Alchemy does not put a ‘positive spin’ on things, it transforms them.

Imagine someone who has acquired a lot of rubbish in their backyard. A person in a low state of consciousness might discount personal responsibility for the mess. There is a level of consciousness at which others are viewed as separate and that you can better yourself at the expense of others.

Someone at this level of consciousness may attempt to relieve their mess by throwing rubbish over the fence for the neighbour to deal with. The mess hasn’t been dealt with but has only been temporarily relocated, and at someone else’s expense.

This is essentially what happens on an energetic level when you do not take direct responsibility for the management of your vibration.

For example, when you experience feelings of anger and you choose to ‘vent’ this by polluting others with your energy by giving them ‘a piece of your mind’, or at the least, attacking them energetically with resentment and anger, or at an even lower level, physically assaulting someone.

All you are doing is unloading your energy elsewhere, claiming implicitly that you are not personally responsible and that others ought to be made accountable. This is literally insane.

How can our lead become gold? After all, this is the esoteric meaning of alchemy, the lifeblood within the flasks and vials. The philosopher’s stone is not some ancient artifact buried beneath the desert somewhere, waiting to be discovered and exploited. It is a tool integral to the self. You are your own alchemical laboratory, and you have all the tools at your disposal that you need to commence work. Everything that appears within your phenomenal space are the various reagents and elements you work with.

What does the work look like, you may ask?

It is deceptively simple, but it does require understanding, vigilance and persistence. For any of this to take place at all you need to be in your laboratory, your workshop with a primed furnace.

The requirement is conscious vigilance. This is variously referred to as occupying the witness state, the seat of awareness, or ‘to keep one’s lamp burning’. In the simplest of terms, this means: stay awake.

The next most important component of this is the power of intent. In other words, in order for this process to begin, you need to care enough to attend to it. If you do not care enough about transmutation, it will not happen until you are prepared.

Here is where the real magic happens: that which arises in a state of vigilant awareness is transmuted form lower into higher. There is only one state in which this can occur, and that is the state of burning awakeness. St. John referred to this eloquently when he said: “anything which is shown up to the light will itself becomes light”.

You cannot be in two states at once, the higher and the lower simultaneously. This is the reason that Jesus said that an archer cannot bend two bows, nor can a servant serve two masters. If these lower energies are active in a lower state of mind, then they will remain unaffected and they will perpetuate.

This is the state humans are almost always in, so of course there will be no transformative change. The witness state, the third order of awareness, changes everything it comes in contact with.

It is called, in the Eastern traditions, the burning sword of Prajna, the wisdom that cuts through any deceit that is given up to it.

In order for this to work, you must be willing to subject what you perceive as your darkest idols of mind before the light of awareness. If there is anger, jealousy or arrogance, do not give it half-heartedly, but feel it expressed all the way through. Feel it not as a victim, but as a witness sacrificing everything to the light of scrutiny.

Some have said that to arrive at this point of preparation may not be entirely in your control. It may have been borne of great suffering or the persistence of a burning question. Suffering is a great teacher in alchemy, because it shows you how all of the lead you are inheriting continues to impinge upon your well being until you discover that you can align the direction of your energy and begin to transmute.

In any case, you will not arrive at a point of readiness until you are genuinely ready, and finally that rests with you.

Where does the peacock fit into this?

There is a Chinese myth that the peacock lives in the deepest part of the forest where no other creatures dwell, where there is nothing to eat but poisonous plants. The peacocks eat what is available to them, and their ingestion of the plants does not poison them, but sustains them because they are employing a process of transmutation. They are taking what has been rejected by others.

What the peacock does in eating this poison is to turn it into a magnificent tail. One form of energy is translated into another.

This is a simple but powerful alchemical myth. Confronting rather than avoiding or displacing your lower vibrational energy may seem from the outside like eating poison. This includes all of your hatred, anger, depression, anxiety, and every other possible byproduct of fear and separation. But if you exert the power of will, it can be transmuted.

What then happens is that the power that has been processed is reclaimed and reborn in the heat of the refiner’s fire.

When science discounts the value of alchemy as a legitimate scientific endeavor, what it is really saying is that there is nothing that the scientific enterprise can gain from it. This may very well be true. A roadworks crew cutting out a culvert in a hill do not care about whether they destroy any rare fossils that they should happen to dig up, because the only thing that is within their purview is cutting out a path for a new road.

Of course, a paleontologist or museum curator might be mortified by the lack of respect shown, but that is only because they see a value there that the roadworkers do not. It simply doesn’t fall within their brief to make allowance to preserving the rare and delicate.

Science has a tendency to see what it values and discard the rest, which makes for a poor alchemical exercise. Of course, this does not mean there cannot ever be a roadworker who values fossils, or a scientist who values spiritual alchemy – only that the institutions that they are operating within as cultural frames of reference have a limited field of value and interest. They have quite different objectives.

The claim of science is to have debunked alchemy on the point that it has failed to turn lead into gold. This is no more conclusive or meaningful than saying science has debunked the efficacy of 12-step program because the building where the AA meeting took place did not have 12 steps at the door.

The power of alchemy as I would argue lies in its being what I refer to as an instructional mythology of transformational psychology. It is not compromised by any material objection regarding the physics or chemistry of alchemy.

Similarly, Plato’s myth of the cave is not rendered redundant because there is proof that humans do not physically live in caves, or that Michelangelo’s Sistine frescoes are worthless because there is no evidence of the Biblical account of creation.

Again, science has a limited range within its values. It can astonish with its design of spacecraft and captivate with its production of taxonomical charts, but success in these endeavours, or any serious endeavor, for that matter, tend to come at the cost of wearing blinkers.

To achieve these things, it is true that there must be ambition, dedication and methodology to be sure. However, science simply cannot afford to dive into the many questions that a spiritual psychology such as alchemy raises. It is a different undertaking, demanding a different application of one’s talents and energies.

I would further argue that alchemy is essentially a kind of roadmap to spiritual awakening. In this respect, it is no different to mystical Christianity or Buddhism, or any disciplined regimen of self-inquiry or meditation, only that it represents a map in a different language. The Buddha cautioned against mistaking the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. All of the obscure reagents and paraphernalia of alchemy may be seen as the finger pointing at the moon – there is no need to get caught up in it.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a burning furnace you might want tend to. Why not go and see for yourself what significance alchemy might have in your own life.

*

Simon P. Murphy is the author of His Master’s Wretched Organ.

Chaos Worship Is The 21st Century Manifestation of Slave Morality

Muslim culture might express significant contempt for homosexuals, but the two groups are nonetheless united in their resentment for those strong enough to uphold the current world order

Looming over the world stage of today is a shaky alliance of groups who not only appear to have little in common, but whose goals appear to be directly antithetical to each other. There is, however, a unifying tenet within this group of people: that order is inherently bad. In other words, they are chaos worshippers.

On the surface of things, it’s not obvious what a homosexual rights activist might have in common with a Muslim. Homosexuals are hated by Muslims; the Koran and hadith make it clear that homosexual acts are sins deserving of punishment.

Indeed, in all of Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, homosexual activity carries the death penalty.

Nor is it obvious what either of these groups have in common with communists. Both Islam and homosexuality were heavily suppressed by the Soviet Union, with adherents of either practice regularly shipped off to the gulags.

So what is the basis of this modern alliance of homosexuals, Muslims and communists?

The answer lies in what Nietzsche called slave morality. In particular, it is the resentment of the weaklings towards the strong that have seen those weaklings put their differences aside (or at least pretend to) and unite against The Man.

A similar phenomenon can be observed in chimpanzee troops, where weaker males sometimes come together in order to take out an individual stronger male.

Essentially what many individuals in these groups have in common is a grudge against the current order of things.

Homosexuals want to be treated with the same respect as heterosexuals, but they never will be because their sexual orientation does not maintain the existence of the human species.

Muslims want to be treated with the same respect as non-Muslims, but they never will be because the moral principles at the foundation of their religion lead inevitably to segregation, mistrust and violence.

Communists want to be treated with the same respect as those of other political orientations, but they never will be because their philosophy expresses a contempt for individual human life that the majority of people consider abhorrent.

Because all three of these groups have found themselves in a position of weakness, on account of that all three of them have been shunned for expounding a way of life that is detrimental to the human survival project, they have found cause to unite around their common resentment of the current order.

Their resentment is so great (this being the outwards projection of their immense self-hatred) that they have no interest in modifying or refining this order.

What they want is simply to destroy it. Whether or not a better order will arise after this act of destruction is not important. The overall goal is to destroy the current order.

In other words, many individuals in these groups are chaos worshippers.

Chaos worshippers don’t believe in correct order. To a worshipper of chaos, all order is bad because it is all oppressive. Thus, any individual or group serving to maintain that order is the enemy, no matter who they are or for what reason they maintain order.

Sometimes the chaos worshipper goes as far as to disbelieve in concept of order at all. This can manifest as a refusal to believe in the march of history.

Some chaos worshippers believe that the laws of human psychology that have led to the march of history no longer apply, or that things will be different this time. As a result they refuse to learn anything from history, mindlessly insisting that the world can be made into a paradise merely through sufficient adherence to an ideology.

One disastrous consequence of this attitude has been the European decision to let in tens of millions of Muslim immigrants in the belief that they would all decide to fit in to the local culture and essentially become Europeans with slightly swarthier skin.

The reality is that mass immigration of anyone to a foreign locale almost never benefits the locals, as is plainly obvious to anyone who has studied any amount of history.

This is irrelevant to the chaos worshipper, for whom mass immigration has the benefit of destroying existing social bonds at all of the local, national and super-regional levels.

In other words, mass immigration of obviously incompatible cultures is great because it spreads chaos. This is why chaos worshippers universally support it.

After all, if you are a pathetic loser at the bottom of society, then all order is bad. All order is oppressive. All order is necessarily immoral. All order is “keeping you down”.

So for these losers, enslaved not by chains of iron but by chains of silver and gold, destruction for destruction’s sake has become its own imperative.

This is the form that slave morality has taken in the 21st century.

The Fundamental Masculine and Feminine Moralities

People often talk about one singular, monolithic, ideal morality as is God was sitting up in the heavens waiting for us to figure it out. The belief appears to be that if we ever did figure this out, we would all behave according to it and life on Earth would be harmonious forevermore.

This childish magical thinking is, of course, false. The reality is that there are two very different moralities that represent opposite ends of an ethical spectrum upon which all actions fall.

The fundamental masculine morality is to maintain good order, and the fundamental feminine morality is to allow life to naturally express itself.

Maintaining good order and allowing life to naturally express itself might not sound like contradictions necessarily, but they are still poles on an ethical spectrum.

One can convince oneself of this by realising that all threats to good order arise from the natural expression of life, and that all bad order restricts the natural expression of life. Likewise, all good order allows for the natural expression of life, and all unnatural expressions of life lead to bad order.

This means that it is commonplace for adherents of the masculine morality to want to destroy expressions of life that threaten good order, and it is commonplace for adherents of feminine morality to want to destroy bad order that prevents natural expression of life.

For the most part, it’s entirely possible for these two moralities to work together. But sometimes they don’t.

A man might act according to masculine morality when he tends to his garden. A gardener is not at all interested in allowing life to express itself through the form of weeds. His task is to maintain good order by keeping the weeds out, by keeping the plants in correctly spaced rows, to prevent the soil from becoming too wet or too dry etc.

A woman might act according to feminine morality when she raises a child. When raising a child, women are generally not particularly concerned with the degree of order that child has. What she wants is for the child to express itself through growth, to be healthy and strong, to feel joy at being alive, and this is made more difficult by forcing order on it.

Masculine and feminine moralities therefore come into conflict when a given order is considered good by some and bad by others.

In fact, this is how most conflict starts. A king might consider his kingdom’s operation to demonstrate good order, but there may be forces in the kingdom who disagree, and who consider his rulership to be bad order.

These forces will come into conflict because the natural expression of the sentiments of those who disagree with the king’s rule will conflict with the king’s desire to maintain order, and the king will find himself forced to stamp those sentiments out else risk chaos befalling the kingdom.

In the same way that silver is a compromise between clay and iron and more valuable than either on account of its finer balance, so too does the correct course of action in any given situation appear as a balance between the masculine and feminine moralities.

Morally retarded people are those who are unable to find a balance between the masculine and feminine moral orientations, and so they either try and impose maximum order upon everything (penis-worshippers and control freaks) or maximum chaos upon everything (postmodernists and hyperfeminists).

People who go too far down the masculine track start wanting to maintain order for order’s sake. The concept of good order is forgotten.

Our cannabis laws are an excellent example of an excess of masculine moral sentiment. It’s obvious to everyone that the New Zealand cannabis laws are not fit for purpose and must be changed, but those who wish to maintain order for order’s sake are unable to countenance so much as a conversation about the subject.

People who go too far down the feminine track start wanting to introduce chaos for chaos’s sake. The concept of healthy chaos is forgotten. These people essentially “just want to watch the world burn”.

The refugee policy of Europe over the past two decades is an excellent example of an excess of feminine moral sentiment. The refusal to discriminate between the natives and non-natives, usually for what are claimed to be moral reasons, has led to a collapse in good order as all manner of chancers have flooded in to compete with the natives for resources.

The only way out of our predicament will be to find the correct balance between the masculine desire for order and the feminine desire for free expression.

Metaphysically that means choosing the right combination of clay and iron so that the overall structure can be polished into silver.

In other words, the same as it ever was.

Who Is At The Helm of Your Ship?

Now, there are guides to help you improve yourself in almost every conceivable way – fitness, nutrition, assertiveness, financial success – just to name a few. There are, however, very few sources of basic information as to how to step into your own dominion as the being who is charge of your interior space. This includes mental health and mental well-being, but also on a deeper level this brings into question the spiritual value of your choices to invest in certain patterns of thinking and behaving.This article is intended to start at the very beginning, and focus on the core question of what it means to actually be you.

You have found yourself in a very interesting place. At some point, all of you can recall with varying degrees of clarity having found yourself inexplicably, but certainly and palpably, being. You likely discovered this miraculous fact at some point in childhood, and it may be connected with a certain person, place, event, or other circumstance. Regardless, somehow and at some point, it became significant to you that you undeniably exist.

This may have been one moment of sudden, eerie clarity when the veil lifted, and you saw for what seemed to be the first time that there was a real space participating in reality, and that space was identical with you. It could have arisen in one of many forms. For some people, it dawns as the realisation of your own mortality as a pet, grandparent or some other loved one or relative passes away. For some, it is the sudden and strange sense of being cordoned off from the rest of the cosmos, as though somehow out of the totality of reality, a tiny, solitary atom of existence just sprang into being. For some, it comes as a sense of one’s self becoming smaller and smaller until you are just a head upon a pillow or sitting upon two shoulders.

However it comes, it is a moment of monumental significance. One might even say it is of absolute significance, since everything you have ever or will ever experience will be encapsulated within this strange state, this radiant conscious space in which thoughts and feelings occur, and from which the world before you appears as sky, stars, mountains oceans, and your own hands and feet.

This space that you operate from, that you are, is referred to as phenomenal space. It is the context in which all content occurs, consciousness itself. You can know it is you because every single thing about you can change except for this one thing. You may change nationalities, identities, names, roles, relationships, genders – even species, but never this. You may think the last example odd, but consider how even the strangest of your dreams was still a theater in which the contextual space which you was still the referential hub from which you operate from as an entity. You could have dreamt you were a star, an ant, or the entire sky, but awareness was nevertheless present, and awareness was irrevocably you.

It goes without saying that to wake up as this thing is utterly strange. People are mystified by the strangeness of death, that one should exist one moment and not exist the next, that one should go to sleep one last time and never again wake. Only rarely do we see the sheer strangeness of our inception in this life, awaking out of apparent nothingness as though someone could have woken up without having ever gone to sleep. Birth is a far more mysterious phenomenon than death, and reflects the same questions about the universe on a microscopic scale: how the hell could anything whatsoever come to be? How could being arise, how could consciousness unfold?

And of course, these are the timeless questions of all science and philosophy, the most poignant of human endeavours to ascertain the truth of the matter.

I remind you of this grand beginning because when you revisit the fact of your awareness, of your existence as awareness, you are beginning again at each moment. This is the beginning of your awareness in this immediately perceivable moment right now. You were not conscious in childhood, or yesterday, you are conscious here and now. This is the space I invite you to operate in for the remainder of this article.

And so I come to ask you: who is at the helm of your ship? I use this as a convenient analogy, because the body is like a ship, a vessel for the consciousness – but it makes no difference, you are entirely free to discard the analogy and select your own.

I don’t come to you presuming to teach you anything you yourself do not already know. I am in no privileged position. On the contrary, you are the author of your own space and this is the respect in which you have authority. You are in creative control, and you have no need of anyone to affirm or deny this to affect the truth you know to be true.

Sometimes there is remembrance of the simple fact of our being, and sometimes there is forgetfulness. More often than not, it is forgetfulness and being caught up in everything the perceived world has to offer.

Now, let it be said that this is quite normal. It may not be sane, or conducive to mental and spiritual well-being, but it is normal. Every human either does it, or has done it. The capacity to choose to remember (re-member: to collect together the multiple aspects of your being) is by necessity accompanied by the capacity to choose to forget. Don’t take my word for this, nor anyone else’s – find out for yourself, in your own living experience when, where and how you choose to remember and forget.

It happens with everyone cyclically, and makes no distinction between the saint and the man sitting on death row.

Who are you? Remember, because it won’t be someone else who tells you, it is you who knows.

I want to leave aside all questions of why the world seems to be the way it is. None of that is relevant here in this article. The fact is: the world as it is appears to you the way it does, and you are consciousness – again, find out for yourself whether this is true.

What next? You have choices to make.

Observe the patterns of your thinking, your behaviour, your emotions. Observe the entirety of it. Find out whether you can do this – there is no law claiming that you cannot, see for yourself.

What you may find is that for very long periods, some longer than others, you have been asleep while the helm or the steering wheel has still been turning. It is never still – forces toss the vessel this way and that, to and fro, and action occurs in the world whether you are operating from a place of your dominion, from the seat of your awareness, or not. Decisions are made, events take place. There is either a decision on how you choose to act or react, or there is a delegation of the decision to take place at a lower level in which you do not claim your authority, sometimes referred to as ‘the draw of the lower self’. In any case, choice is happening, happening, happening.

The only question is: are you in the place you want to be? Are you wanting to be in a place of authorship in this life? If you are like any other person in the history of the species, chances are very high that you have deferred this authority time and time again. I want to talk about why this should happen. Let’s now take a look at the role of conditioning.

What is conditioning? Conditioning is a structure like a pathway that can be followed. Think of it as a conduit in which you have the choice to run your energy through. Conditioning could be anything, but the most common kinds of conditioning tend to be genetic and cultural.

Conditioning accounts for an utterly enormous amount of possible human behaviours, pathological or otherwise. The tendency to seek a mate, the desire for food, the aversion to illness and death, the repetition of traditional behaviours and practices, the safeguarding of certain values in society. Almost everything in your life that you can see, hear, feel or think is related to conditioning.

The more energy that has been invested through these conduits, the more easily they are relied upon and reinforced. They are chosen again and again, because these routes are familiar and they are ‘tried and true’ as part of your conditioned reasoning might assert.

It runs very, very deep. In fact, it can be extraordinarily challenging to find any space from it unless you meditate or at least spend time by yourself apart from the incessant influx. Think now upon smaller ways in which conditioning has a presence in your life. The choice to have a meal at a certain time. Isn’t that comforting? The choice to stay with food that you liked, and that your parents liked. Isn’t that comforting? The choice to align to what most other people you know think and believe politically. How does that feel? Does it make you feel safe, loved, part of something larger and more secure?

Now, a disclaimer: not everything that is conditioning is bad. Forget good and bad for a moment. I don’t want to evaluate any of these behaviours as good or bad. That is not my goal here. All I want to do is ask you to see where you are in awareness, where you are in your choice. Are you at the wheel, are you at the helm? Because the simple fact is, if you are not, all of the decisions you make while the real you is absent are being made elsewhere, and these routes of conditioning are very, very easy to pour energy into. They are safe, they are familiar, they are repeated by generation after generation, they have a momentum spanning lifetimes and everything your culture has is designed to grease the wheels of society in such a way that these routes are essentially self-maintaining.

This also includes personal culture, the habits, attitudes and behaviours you have acquired and assented to as an embodied ‘self’. Some of those may be violent, self-harming, vindictive, but they needn’t be. Conditioning also covers relatively benign things such as the way you dress and whether you like sports or build model railways.

What does your culture consist of? It could be binge-drinking on the weekend, or making yourselves nationally feel proud and righteous in order to separate yourself from other countries. It doesn’t matter, it is all conditioning, even the ‘good’ things. These are all very much self-regulating, and they are advertised in the most perfect way possible, because the next generation grow up exposed to the same assumptions and behaviours that their parents were. Every day parents advertise to their children. They advertise their religious beliefs, their worldview, their political beliefs, their national identity, and children won’t even know it is advertising unless they are occupying their space, and that may be a level of spiritual maturity they may very well have not come into yet. They will think all of the ‘facts’ they are digesting must be part of reality, and therefore something worth assimilating simply by virtue of existing.

So you can see the importance of being in space in which you can look at this influx from a place of discernment. You do not need any special education to occupy this space. All it takes is the intention to remain vigilant as what some spiritual traditions refer to as ‘the witness’ and what modern psychology refers to as ‘third order awareness’ (awareness of knowing that you are aware). All you are doing is viewing what is coming through as whether it is congruent, and here I am using this word to mean ‘resonates with your deepest understanding of how reality is’.

For example, you may be aware of the fact that some people are given medicine by missionaries to the degree that they are willing to capitulate to the religious instruction of another culture. You may find that this practice is not congruent, simply because if you are honest with yourself, you really feel that on the deepest level we are all deserving of unconditional help and such a thing should never be asked of a person in need. You may, or may not – that is your purview. This is not necessarily right or wrong, good or bad, but the intention to operate from your deepest knowing and from your space of who you are at the deepest level is how you move forward.

No one can tell you what decisions to make, or what you should feel in accord with as good or bad, right or wrong. You are not a puppet of cultural forces, unless you choose to allow such a manipulation to happen. When you are in your authority, you are operating from connection to the truth of who you are as consciousness. All anyone can ever do is to remind you of this. Find out for yourself whether any of this is true. If it doesn’t resonate with you, you are in your authority to leave it.

*

Simon P. Murphy is the author of His Master’s Wretched Organ, a collection of short horror stories that deal with questions of transcendence, terror and spiritual absolution.

Divide and Conquer in New Zealand

As the 2017 General Election draws nearer, the intensity of the propaganda is increasing from all sides. Even the Internet – once a technophile’s lodge of respite from politics – is now full of Gareth Morgan’s advertisements. In all the confusion, it’s easy to forget that the ruling class will win the election, as they have every other one.

The principles of iron are the same in all times and all places. Ultimately, if someone is capable of bringing more physical force to bear on your body than you can on theirs, they are your boss and you can only act freely at their pleasure.

It’s very easy to see how this operates in reality.

Iron can be used to make an axe, and the axe can divide the head of any person opposing the will of the wielder of that axe from that person’s body, rendering them incapable of resistance.

For the majority of the billion-year history of life on Earth, iron took the form of fangs and claws and teeth. Nowadays, that iron takes the form of handguns on the holsters of the loyal Police, but the principles are the same.

Everyone understands this – but few understand that the principles of silver operate in much the same fashion.

There is no need to divide someone’s body with iron if you can equally well render them incapable of resistance by dividing their mind – and this is done by silver.

More specifically, this is done by telling lies.

Take, for example, the lies that John Key told about GST to get elected – in particular, promising not to raise GST from its then 12.5%. This promise was made because it is known that consumption taxes disadvantage the poor relative to income taxes, and so the suckers in the middle were more likely to vote for Key.

When Key was duly elected and took power, one of the first moves was to raise GST to 15%. This had a particular effect on the electorate that was not noted at the time.

What this lie did was to cleave New Zealand, as if with a silver axe, into one group who profitted from the lie, and one group who suffered from it.

The group that profitted from it didn’t appear to really care much that the other half of the country had lost out from being lied to by their Prime Minister. After all, they ended up with the long-coveted income tax cuts.

The group that suffered from it found that, not only had they lost, but they had lost by being lied to, and they had lost from being lied to by their own Prime Minister. Worst of all, no conversation about the effects of these lies seemed possible.

The corporate media, beholden to Key and to the National Party for their news cycle, moved on to the next infotainment fad, and the subject was forgotten.

As Ben Vidgen points out in the foreword to the Second Edition of State Secrets, the corporate media has been lying to people forever, and will sneer things like “conspiracy theory” every time someone does actually speak the truth.

It can be predicted, without any great effort of foresight, that the corporate media will use this year’s General Election as an occasion to set the plebs against each other for profit.

It can also be predicted, with similar ease, that anyone who points out the grotesque nature of the charade that is the televised circus of psychopaths dumping their verbal excrement into your subconscious mind at 50Hz will not find appreciation among those same plebs.

As Vidgen told you in 1999 and as we’re telling you now, you’re surrounded by bullshit on all sides. With an election in three months’ time, the frequency and intensity of the bullshit pumped into the heads of every Kiwi through the mass media is about to sharply increase.

So much so that knowing which of the possible options represent a “genuine change” and which are just the usual lineup of pocket-lining, trough-guzzling criminals will become impossible in the noise and chaos.

We could tell you that we were going to provide an alternative, but then why would anyone with sense trust us?

Psychiatry is Just Rehashed Four Temperaments Theory

It’s so difficult to know who’s sane and who isn’t these days. In the Post-Truth Age, anyone can simply assert anything, no matter how ridiculous, and be taken seriously by hordes of morons. The only reasonable approach seems to be to declare yourself perfectly mentally healthy and everyone else variably so – depending on their relationship to you.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that, aside from the technology of pharmaceutical drugs, mental healthcare hasn’t advanced in 3,000 years, and in significant area has in fact gone backwards, as genuine wisdom inherited from previous ages is forgotten.

Because the wide world all fits into categories of earth, water, air and fire – and always has done – it is possible to fit all of the human personality types into these categories as well.

With regards to mental healthcare, one can simply do this by declaring oneself to be the fulcrum of sanity around which the world rotates, and then applying the four temperaments theory to everyone else.

So “modern” mental healthcare is mostly a matter of dressing up four temperaments theory in a cover of psychiatric jargon.

For example, patients who are sad no longer get diagnosed with melancholia, but with depression. The melancholic personality type, which is associated with a tendency to depression, is now called avoidant personality disorder.

Fittingly for melancholia, which is represented by earth and is consequently the most feminine of all of the conditions, avoidant personality disorder is characterised by feelings of inadequacy and a hypersensitivity to criticism.

Diagnosing someone as depressed and prescribing anti-depressants today is not significantly different from diagnosing someone as melancholic 3,000 years ago and prescribing them cannabis sativa.

The dependent personality, characterised by clinging and submissiveness, also falls into this category.

Marginally more warm-blooded people fall into the phlegmatic category of person. These usually end up getting diagnosed as schizoid or schizotypal, because their phlegmatic nature makes them broadly indifferent to social contact.

Some phlegmatic people are nonetheless capable of extracting small amounts of pleasant feelings from hoarding things. So if you meet a person who appears indifferent to much of the outside world, don’t be surprised if you end up finding out that they hoard newspapers.

Even more warm-blooded people – those who used to be called sanguine – lead us into the domain of the borderline and the histrionic personality disorders.

Unlike people in the previous two categories, these types are much more outgoing – indeed, one of the major distinctions relates to whether the condition causes problems for the person who has it or for other people, and the more warm-blooded a person is the more likely they are to cause problems for other people.

Borderline personality disorder is characterised by instability and impulsiveness, and a person is more likely to be impulsive the more warm-blooded they are.

Histrionic personality disorder, likewise, is too noisy and dramatic to fall into the categories of melancholic or phlegmatic disorders.

These two conditions have the common factor of both being primarily socially orientated. In much the same way that a mentally healthy sanguine person might be described by friends as easy-going, witty and spontaneous, a mentally unhealthy sanguine person would be like a reflection of this in a dark mirror.

Instead of wit there comes verbal abuse and manipulation, and instead of spontaneity there comes a puppet-like mindless lurching from one impulse to another.

The most hot-blooded kind of person was referred to as a choleric personality in ancient times. In modern times, a person like this causes problems because of being too aggressive or domineering.

Consequently, cholerics are often narcissists, possessing a grandiose desire for the admiration of others. This becomes unhealthy when the desire for this gets out of control and they try to force or bully others into showing admiration against their will.

At the most extreme, the choleric personality manifests as antisocial personality disorder, characterised by a pattern of disregard for the rights of others. In particular, the antisocial personality does not recognise rights as anything more than the ability to enforce them.

This is why the antisocial personality so frequently commits murder – if it has the capacity to kill it considers itself to have the right to do so, for if it did not it would not have the capacity.

Antisocial personality disorder could be considered a way of having an excess of masculinity, in the sense that the desire of a person with it is to impose a degree of order upon the world that inevitably brings them into conflict with other people.

Alchemically speaking, it is possible to see this four temperaments theory as representing the spectrum of personality from unhealthy feminine at the melancholic end, to unhealthy masculine at the choleric end.

Correspondingly, the melancholic personality at the feminine end is, at its least healthy, at risk of killing itself, and the choleric personality at the masculine end is, at its least healthy, at risk of killing another.

The Fundamental Masculine And Feminine Intelligences – And Stupidities

There is a lot of hot air and angry discussion at the moment about gender differences and intelligence. Some say men are smarter, some say women are smarter, some say both genders have exactly the same degree of intelligence in all areas.

This essay will argue that there are two entirely separate kinds of intelligence, and that the masculine one is best expressed by men and the feminine one is best expressed by women.

Psychologists have long known that men and women differed predictably when it came to certain tasks that their minds were optimised for. Men are predictably better at maths and logic where women are predictably better at language and psychology.

Less broadly known is that the brains of men and women were optimised by differential survival pressures into tendencies towards slightly different behaviours.

The biological past was a brutal place for humans. Survival was marginal at the best of times. Massive predators shared the same jungles as us, and we had nothing in the way of natural defences against them.

Human survival was primarily a matter of intelligence. Individual humans, as a general rule, are intelligent, because it was intelligence that gave humanity the edge necessary to overcome survival pressures in our ecological niche.

Acquiring the necessary food resources for the maintenance of bodily metabolism was always the main challenge for our intelligence. This was primarily achieved in two ways: hunting and gathering.

Hunting requires something very similar to a masculine intelligence. In order to successfully hunt (as a hominid at least) you need to be able to keep quiet for as long as possible, and then to suddenly explode into tightly co-operative action that has a direct and obvious goal (killing something).

As a consequence, men evolved to be very good at delineating a target from the background of visual stimuli that surrounded them. In other words, we adapted to become good at focusing and discriminating.

The flip side of this is the relative inability of masculine intelligence to consider the holistic picture. It simply isn’t necessary, when trying to club a goat to death, to consider any other factor than the immediate task at hand. In fact, it would be a tremendous disadvantage to waste cognitive resources on such things when food was right in front of you and any hesitation could see it escape.

Because more successful hunters were inevitably more successful at surviving and reproducing, this has led to the evolution of a kind of masculine intelligence that allows its holder to focus their attention on a target.

So because the vast majority of hunting in the biological past was performed by men, this masculine intelligence is mostly – but far from exclusively – possessed by men today.

Gathering, on the other hand, requires something very similar to a feminine intelligence.

In direct contrast to hunting, gathering is a noisy endeavour. A group of primates engaged in gathering are constantly twittering to each other information about what they see in front of them, about who has found what, about where to gather next, about the dominance hierarchies of the group, and all manner of chatter.

This means that the selective pressures on women were different to those that shaped men. A gatherer has to do the opposite of focusing.

For women, it was much more important to not be discriminating, to not focus, to stay open. When gathering the important thing is to keep one’s senses as open as possible so that if an example of the thing being gathered came into view it would be noticed.

The flip side of this is the relative inability of feminine intelligence to identify threats in the immediate physical or temporal environment.

Not only is it generally unnecessary – the idea being that the males on the periphery of the group’s territory will keep you safe – but it is actually a cognitive waste, because it’s much better to keep your field of awareness as open as possible, to best notice any nuts, mushrooms and berries.

From this, it’s possible to describe the two intelligences more simply.

The fundamental masculine intelligence is the ability to correctly focus one’s attention (and to see a narrower picture), and the fundamental female intelligence is the ability to correctly unfocus one’s attention (and to see the wider picture).

This probably explains why the bulk of surgeons, who have a very specific task to deal with, are male but the bulk of general practitioners, who must take as holistic a perspective as reasonable, are female.

It also explains why the national Australian women’s soccer team can’t beat a local representative side of 15-year old boys, and why men commit the vast majority of crimes of truly unnecessary violence.

We can also surmise from this that there is a fundamental masculine stupidity and a feminine compliment of same.

The fundamental masculine stupidity is to over-discriminate, and this takes form in prejudices like racism and sexism. Masculine stupidity draws hard and fast lines between things that do not need to be kept separated. This is also why the majority of autists are male.

The fundamental feminine stupidity, then, is to under-discriminate, and this takes the form of making inadequate threat assessments.

And so, in our modern world, we can see all of this in relation to the issues of the day, such as immigration.

The masculine stupidity draws hard and fast lines between the immigrants and the natives and will not let them mix. The feminine stupidity draws no lines and lets everyone in without due care to whether or not they fit properly or want to cause trouble.

Both of these lead to conflict and violence.

The masculine intelligence, by contrast, learns about history and anthropology so it can make more accurate decisions about who to let in and who to keep out. The feminine intelligence gets to know the immigrants and tries to intuit whether their mentality is something to be trusted or not.

Both of these lead to peace.

How to Self-Evaluate Your Own Religious Integrity, in Eleven Premises

Premise 1: My religion represents the exclusive truth.

By way of an answer, consider this: which of the following scriptures have you devoted to rigorous and charitable study: The Koran, The Bible, The Torah, The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Gnostic Gospels?

Consider approximately in hours, days, months, weeks or years your devoted study to each, and then review your assertion of Premise 1 from a space of honesty and integrity. You will review this yourself with no higher authority than your own to judge.

Premise 2: My religion is unique.

Every religion is unique in its own way. This by itself does not lend a measure of truthfulness. For example, only Buddhism holds that if a statement should not accord with your own sense of reason, then you need not accept it, even if is spoken by Buddha. This may make Buddhism unique, but it does not immediately qualify it as true.

Islam holds that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse. Again, this qualifies Islam as unique, but it does not immediately qualify it as true. Even the belief that Jesus was the son of a virgin and died upon the cross for our sins is not unique to Christianity, as this mythology was already present in a much earlier religion called Mithraism.

Premise 3:

I feel very strongly about my religion/
I have perfect faith in my religion/
I know in my heart that my religion is true/
I have special access to the truth/
I have had special spiritual experiences with this religion that confirm my belief

So does everyone else who adheres to a religion, even to the extent that they would sacrifice their own lives for their faith, Sikh, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Mayan. They each have heaven, miracles, saints and holy days. If their faith is as strong as your own, can it be possible that you are both correct? Are you both wrong? Is there another possibility? What are to be your standards for judging, given that you are the advocate of only your own religion?

Premise 4: When I am uncomfortable, something is wrong and I should therefore avoid it.

False. Something is not wrong when a dancing bear has the ring removed from its nose, and something is not wrong when a woman is in childbirth. When you question your convictions, you are stepping into your own authority and demanding that your assumptions meet the appropriate conditions – namely, that they reflect truth. The most wonderful and transformative change is often initially uncomfortable, this does not mean it is not worthwhile.

Premise 5: Those who encourage me to question my faith are agents of of evil or are otherwise trying to lead me astray.

To the extent that you believe this, you will remain in a spiritual cell. The only thing you have to lose by questioning your beliefs and convictions is illusion – you get to keep anything that is true. No one imprisons you but you, and by your own free choice. Are you worried about losing the illusory? Are you worried about losing what is false?

Recognise this responsibility to yourself and to those who depend upon you. There is no one to reply to, object to, or argue with in this situation, because the only person you need to answer to here is you.

Premise 6: The truth of my religion is established to the extent that we have faced persecution.

This is assumed by every religion. Every religion faces persecution from every other religion, and yet each religion assumes the role of passive victimhood. This is simply not true. All religions both persecute and are persecuted, and all have a history of violence.

Premise 7: My religious community shares love with each other and that is real.

It may very well be true, but so does every other community, religious or not. How do you treat those who choose to leave your community? Do you judge them? Often the love shared between members of a church or a religion is actually conditional. We are happy to give love, care and attention to others within our group just so long as they live up to our expectations by believing what we believe and behaving in ways acceptable to us.

If they leave, then what happens? If their religious commitments change, then what happens? If your religion teaches that they should be treated any different, does that resonate with you on the deepest level?

Premise 8: The holy scriptures that my religious beliefs are based on are very old, and can be proven authentic because within those scriptures is the promise that it is true.

Again, this is ‘true’ for every single scripture-based religious tradition. Each relies upon a circular argument. “God has divinely authored a book in which he promises he was the author, and God would not lie”. This is self-contradictory, and the absurdity of it is clearly seen when the same assumptions are championed by other religions with entirely different assumptions.

Premise 9: If I did not maintain the beliefs, traditions and practices set out by my religion, then the world would collapse into moral anarchy.

The sad irony is that the world is already in a continually worsening state of moral collapse, largely due to interfaith conflict. Please read this last sentence more than once, because it is imperative that you understand. If multiple groups are being guided by inflexible moral rules that are in fact mutually exclusive, then conflict is the inevitable result. Period.

Premise 10: I would rather be wrong with my own religious group than right by supporting beliefs that I experience as heretical, distasteful or challenging.

This is very important to review for yourself, because herein lies the crux of the issue of personal moral and epistemic integrity. That which is true will not always conform to your expectations, preconceptions, and certainly not your comfort zone. Read this last sentence twice, please. It is imperative to understand. If you choose to be wrong with your own group, you are not in your integrity, because what you are in fact choosing is to be in your comfort zone rather than in respect to Truth.

Premise 11: Other religions and belief systems are immoral and misguided.

Now, if you are fundamentalist of any kind this has to appear to be true for you, because you have concluded that the rules set out by your own tradition are exclusively correct. You may be surprised to find with a little honest research that some traditions are very much aligned to your own. They may have an attitude of high respect and tolerance for their ingroup and an attitude of disapproval and even violence of their outgroup. They may even walk the talk better than your own tradition.

For example, the Islamic practice of stoning adulterers and homosexuals is frowned upon by moderate Christians, even though the moral law is expressly the same in the Koran as it is in the Old Testament. Fundamentalist Christians may not necessarily be so far off in disagreement with Radical Muslims.

There are also very loving and moderate religious traditions that may agree with your own teachings about expressing love to outsiders, forgiving wrongdoing and respectfully allowing others of different creeds to live in peace without imposing one’s own views and constraints upon them. Does that really sound so bad? If your teachings inspire you to anger and malign against others, can you honestly say that those beliefs are in the better interest of mankind?

*

Simon P. Murphy is a Nelson-based writer. He is the author of the short story collection His Master’s Wretched Organ and the forthcoming Lexicanum Luciferium (both by VJM Publishing). His fiction is heavily influenced by Gnosticism and Alchemy, placing a central focus upon the theme of our navigation of an occulted reality through the use of archetypal symbolism.

What Does It Really Mean to Be Honest?

To honestly assess information, we need to fully inform ourselves.

We have all heard ‘honesty is the best policy’ and, ‘you shouldn’t lie’, but what is honesty at the deepest level, and why is it so important?

Honesty, at the deepest level, is a form of integrity.

Integrity asks you to be spiritually courageous, and involves using your wisdom and discernment even in the face of great pain. Being honest is not always easy. Sometimes being honest means moving away from the comfort of beliefs that we hold great stock in, beliefs which we have been taught over a lifetime, beliefs which inform our our daily lives, actions, decisions, and relationships to a profound degree.

The truth is, none of the comfort or emotional well-being derived from any belief is indicative of its truthfulness. There is simply no connection between what provides comfort and what is true.

Why is any of this important?

Believing things which are untrue can be very harmful, even though we may derive enormous personal comfort from the familiarity and promises of these beliefs.

If someone comes to your door and explains that they believe something without providing charitable counter-arguments, alternatives, or competing explanations, then this is a very strong indication that that person is not acting in their integrity, their honesty.

An evangelist will stand at your doorstep and faithfully show you everything that they believe, including why it makes sense to them, and the path they have taken to arrive at those conclusions. If they present you with any material that entertains a competing explanation, such as another very different religious system, it will always be used to show that other explanations are false.

This is a very, very important point, because this is how we discover whether someone is acting in their integrity or whether they are deluding themselves or others.

For example, a Jehovah’s Witness will not charitably discuss the merits of Catholicism or Islam, regardless of how many believers there are in these faiths worldwide. Other belief systems will only be referenced in passing in order to show that they are mistaken relative to the interpretation of the evangelists’ own religious commitments.

A missionary does not go into the jungle to deepen his understanding of tribal spirituality, at least, not intentionally. He goes in order to persuade others of his culture’s views which he assumes to be superior prior to any philosophical comparison.

Now, again imagine you are an Evangelical Christian and a Muslim comes to your door behaving in precisely the same way as you might. They offer you only an explanation of how Islam is exclusively true and holds spiritual superiority over other faiths. They will not hold competing faiths, including your own, in a favourable light, nor will they provide any charitable explanation of how these work, or the benefits they provide people with globally.

In short, they are not acting out of integrity.

Let’s go back to why honesty and integrity are important.

If you are not genuinely honest about your beliefs and why you believe them, then the relationship of those beliefs to reality will be muddy at best. If we do not allow our beliefs to conform to the best available reasoning and evidence, then our worldview is at risk of stagnating for lack of congruence with reality.

Just think what this would matter to divinity – I am not speaking of religion, but of divinity itself that people on earth should not act upon their integrity. This divinity may not take offense at having been wilfully misunderstood, but it would surely not condone people believing falsehoods without question and not honestly considering different answers, particularly if those false beliefs were harmful to others.

A Baptist who comes to your doorstep to preach about the bible has nothing glowing to say about the Koran, the Talmud, The Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita, irrespective of how valuable these may have been to millions of other lives over thousands of years.

The reason for this is clear – once people believe they have found answers that suit them, they tend to stop considering the legitimacy of other explanations, and feel justified in confidently discounting the validity of those worldviews without feeling the need for further analysis. This is not a Christian problem or Jewish problem or a Muslim problem or an atheist problem – this is a human problem.

When a politician comes to you, whether on television or in person, he isn’t telling you why his competition are wonderful and can help you in your life. He comes to you because he wants your support, he wants your vote. Your belief in his policy is a kind of transaction to him. In fact, it usually does not even matter to him that his policy should make you or your children’s lives any better. All that matters to him is that you vote for him. It is the same with religion.

There are other important reasons that people once deciding upon a belief system do not carefully and charitably explore alternative explanations, and this is because of something called cognitive dissonance.

If you already believe something, particularly if you have believed it for a long time and/or these beliefs inform much of what your personal life is built around, then there will be very strong resistance to changing or even questioning those beliefs, even if those beliefs have been harmful or false.

If an animal in a zoo has been kept in captivity for its entire life, even though it may have been kept enclosed in cramped, uncomfortable conditions, then the world outside will seem terrifying, even the wild where it belongs. Its natural freedom will terrify it to the point where for the sake of its imagined comfort, it will choose to remain caged out of fear and the comfort of an abject yet familiar environment.

We even limit our own children in order to indoctrinate them into our own views. This can be done in many ways, by limiting the friendships they have, monitoring the books they read, the movies they watch, or even schooling them ourselves, bypassing the perceived problem of our children receiving and understanding alternative ideas and explanations.

Christians frown upon Muslims for doing this, and vice versa. If anyone was truly operating in their integrity, in respect for truth they would never limit their children in this way. Now, of course we all love our children, and of course we all do for them what we think is best.

However, if we truly believed what we say we do, then we would allow our children the freedom of education that would naturally lead them to seek the truth, and if what we believe to be true was indeed true, then they would reach the same conclusions as we have.

The fact that people force their own beliefs upon their children is a form of dishonesty. It is symptomatic of a lack of faith in one’s own beliefs and assumptions.

Many religious parents, although somewhat uncomfortable with the inherent dishonesty of indoctrination, reason in the following way: “Yes, I am limiting their beliefs and freedom because I love them and I do not want them to be affected by evil, whatever the cost, because in my doing so I spare them from sin and damnation”.

However, this is precisely the same reasoning that keeps other authoritarian religious traditions which you disagree with in business. If you are a Fundamentalist Christian, you disagree with Fundamentalist Muslim children not receiving a free education.

Yet their parents reason in the same way that you do, only they consider that beliefs in departure from Islam lead to damnation, while you believe the same regarding Christianity.

In honesty, you cannot have it both ways – either you agree that all religions should indoctrinate their children, or you believe that children should be allowed freedom to seek the truth.

Questioning beliefs and assumptions costs energy. If we re-evaluate what we believe and why, then the resulting change can be very difficult, which is sadly why people, particularly those with strong beliefs, have a strong resistance to this.

It is more important to most people to remain comfortable, in familiar territory, and amongst people who believe the same things than it is even to pursue the ultimate truth of reality, who they really are and why they are really here.

They are afraid that if they question their beliefs, then they will betray their family, friends, church, tradition, culture, God.

All that is actually happening is that that person is no longer putting comfort and familiarity first, and is now stepping into the courage and integrity to hold all of their beliefs subject to a rigorous questioning. People do this out of a deep respect for themselves, for others, for truth, and for divinity. Unfortunately, many see it as easier to die for their convictions than to live questioning them.

To the extent that people do not do this, they choose to remain asleep. This is why we have traditions spanning thousands of years, and yet no peace to show for it. Violence, both physical and ideological, is rife, as is suffering, neurosis and fear of death, insanity and damnation, all despite the proclamation of great faith and righteousness. It is not loyalty that keeps you in chains, but fear.

To value and practice honest questioning and integrity is to value spiritual awareness, to be awake to the truth in whatever form it may take.

The time to remain asleep is over for those who choose to awaken and hold to question every assumption that separates us from our brothers and sisters.

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Simon P. Murphy is a Nelson-based writer. He is the author of the short story collection His Master’s Wretched Organ and the forthcoming Lexicanum Luciferium (both by VJM Publishing). His fiction is heavily influenced by Gnosticism and Alchemy, placing a central focus upon the theme of our navigation of an occulted reality through the use of archetypal symbolism.